Kiss the Girls (1997)

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Released 7-Sep-2001

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1997
Running Time 110:48
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:51) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gary Fleder
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Morgan Freeman
Ashley Judd
Cary Elwes
Tony Goldwyn
Jay O. Sanders
Bill Nunn
Brian Cox
Alex McArthur
Richard T. Jones
Jeremy Piven
William Convers-Roberts
Gina Ravera
Roma Maffia
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Mark Isham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Portuguese
Hebrew
Greek
Croatian
Italian
Spanish
Slovenian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Kiss The Girls is one of many psychological thriller films that were released after the success of The Silence Of The Lambs. Unlike the majority, Kiss The Girls is a tightly-constructed, well-produced and well-directed film. Based on the best selling novel by James Patterson, and transposed to the screen by David Klass, Kiss The Girls owes most of its success to its script and actors that make us believe in and feel for the characters on screen.

    After an almost dream-like beginning where we are introduced to our villain (or at least his voice) explaining to a new victim the story of his first love, we meet Alex Cross (Morgan Freeman). Alex is a detective specialising in forensic psychology, working in the Washington Police Force. He is an expert in his field, a best-selling novelist and a respected psychologist with almost legendary capabilities. After finishing work, Alex finds out that his niece, Naomi Cross (Gina Ravera) has been missing from her University for 4 days. Though advised not to go, he heads out to try and find her even though it is outside his jurisdiction.

    When he arrives, he is initially treated with disdain by the local detectives, but soon proves his worth as they find one of the missing girls murdered. Not long after, an intern at the local hospital, Kate McTiernan (Ashley Judd), is kidnapped, and Alex believes it is to fill the vacancy in the collection of the man who calls himself "Casanova". But the unexpected happens, and Kate escapes Casanova's grasp and is found alive.

    Now it is a race against time as Alex and Kate try to hunt Casanova down before he takes his next victim, or worse, dies before they find his hideaway and the missing girls. As the trail begins to heat up they find that this "student of the game" is playing for keeps, and that there is also more to this than meets the eye.

    It is interesting to note that the bit part of Coty Pierce at the very beginning of this film is played by none other than Mena Suvari in one of her first major movies, although her part is anything but major.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is a great transfer presented with 16x9 enhancement and in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The picture is sharp and clear, and would be close to reference quality if it wasn't for some MPEG and film artefacts.

    Surprisingly, as a lot of the film is played out in the dark there are no discernable instances of low level noise, and detail and colour saturation are excellent. Even during the moments of quick contrast changes (such as 44:17) everything seems well-controlled.

    There are some minor MPEG artefacts such as Gibbs effects with on-screen text throughout the film, and aliasing (10:53, 18:35). Film artefacts are slightly worse with a lot of dust specks throughout, as well as some good examples of moire effects on some TVs and computer monitors (34:03, 77:35). These don't overly detract from the film, however I do wish they had spent a little more time cleaning the dust from the original film stock.

    There are numerous subtitle tracks included, and I engaged the English variant for about half of the film. Overall, the subtitles were quite faithful to the spoken word, give or take a few very minor edits for pacing and readability, however, none of the non-English subtitle tracks translate the onscreen text (such as "Washington, D.C." at 2:25), obviously hoping you can read at least that in English.

    This is an RSDL formatted single sided, dual layer disc. The layer change (56:51) is placed at the tail end of some audio during a fade over a forest. It is extremely noticeable with a longer than usual pause.



Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    There are four audio tracks, all available in Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English track.

    This is an extremely atmospheric audio track with clear and easy to understand dialogue, and with no noticeable lip synch issues.

    The accompanying music is a perfect fit, with a dramatic and enveloping orchestral score by Mark Isham that helps draw you into the film.

    The surround channels are used very effectively with an amazing variety of discrete Foley work, and excellent mixing of the musical score. A soundtrack this involving constantly keeps you on your toes whilst following the actors through forests, caverns and caves.

    The subwoofer is well integrated into the soundtrack supporting the front and rears with a well balanced low end, as well as the low rumbling required in many moments of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Paramount have only supplied us with a couple of extras.

Menu

    Very basic and static menu.16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer

   Presented in 1.66:1 and not 16x9 enhanced. Tagged as Dolby Digital 2.0 audio although it carries surround information.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There are some differences in audio tracks and subtitles between versions, but that's it.

    The Region 1 misses out on: Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish and Italian soundtracks, and French, Portuguese, Croatian, Hebrew, Greek, Italian and Slovenian subtitles.

    The Region 4 misses out on: Dolby Surround English and French soundtracks.

    In this case, there is no specific winner or loser. Due to the extra resolution of PAL, however, preference would have to be given to the Region 4 disc.

Summary

    Kiss the Girls is on the "must see" list of psychological thrillers. It is well acted with believable characters, and whilst the ending is not as good as the rest of the film, the ride is definitely worth taking.

    The transfer is high quality with only minor MPEG and some unnecessary film artefacts.

    The soundtrack is well balanced with excellent use of the complete soundstage.

    The extras are standard for a Paramount disc.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Shane Lord (read my bio)
Sunday, September 16, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-DB1070. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationElektra Theatre 150 Watts x 6 channel Power Amplifier
SpeakersEnergy eXL-16 left/right front speakers; Energy eXL-C centre speaker; Energy eXL-R left/right rear speakers; Wharfedale SW-12 Subwoofer

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